A relatively new field, sports psychology is one of the most interesting domains in psychology. Sports psychologists are also highly paid compared to psychologists specializing in other fields. According to the American Psychological Association, sports psychologists in many collegiate athletic departments are paid between $60,000 and $80,000 per year, with some earning as high as $100,000.
There are many possible reasons why anyone want to study sports psychology. For some, it’s to learn about this fascinating and relatively new field of study. For others, it’s to gain insights on how they can improve their athlete’s mentality. Regardless of the motivation, starting your sports psychology journey starts with picking up a book about the subject and learning as much as you can about it.
If you’re on the lookout for interesting sports psychology books, you’re at the right place. Here are Best Psych Books recommendations for the best sports psychology books you can buy online.
Table of Contents
Understanding Sport Psychology
If you want to understand the nitty gritty behind the science of sport psychology, Understanding Sport Psychologyis for you. Unlike the other books on this list, this is meant for academic consumption. But anyone who wants a foundational grasp of sports psychology should get their hands on this essential textbook. Published by Sage Publication and written by psychology professors Gavin Breslin, John Kremer, Aidan Moran, and Stephen Shannon, Understanding Sport Psychology is a must-buy for anyone interested in diving into the rigors of sports psychology.
The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, & Thrive
The Champion’s Mind is a highly popular sports psychology book written by Dr. Jim Afremow, a renowned sports and performance psychologist and ex-specialist for Arizona State University. The book contains tips and strategies that Afremow tells his clients, many of them high-level athletes, Heisman Trophy winners, and Olympians, that everyday people can use in their athletic (and even non-athletic) endeavors.
In The Champion’s Mind, Afremow discusses many things related to sports psychology, packaged in such a way that laypeople can understand them easily. Topics include maintaining humility in sports, progressing within a sport, and developing routines before a performance, among many other things. The Champion’s Mind is a critically acclaimed book that has garnered praise from both professional and amateur athletes.
How Champions Think: In Sports and in Life
How Champions Think: In Sports and in Life is a New York Times bestselling sports psychology book written by Dr. Bob Rotella, a popular sports psychologist who’s helped athletes, specifically golfers, gain perspective and improve their game on the field. He’s also worked as a professor of sports psychology at the University of Virginia and written for Golf Digest.
In How Champions Think, Rotella discusses ways in which we can push back against the mental factors that keep us from achieving our best. “It’s about how to make a commitment, how to persevere, how to deal with failure. It’s about how to train your mind to create a self-image that promotes confidence and accomplishment,” according to a description of the book.
Mental Toughness For Young Athletes: Eight Proven 5-Minute Mindset Exercises For Kids And Teens Who Play Competitive Sports
This one’s for the kids. Mental Toughness For Young Athletes is written by Troy and Moses Horne, a father-son duo and hosts of the podcast Hoopchalk Basketball. The book’s goal is to help kids and teenage athletes overcome sports performance anxiety and deal with athletic stress. Their book is based on interviews they’ve done with some of the best athletes in the world, including Tywanna Smith, Keiko Yoshimine, and the late Kobe Bryant.
The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance
The Mindful Athlete is a book by George Mumford, a mindfulness practitioner and sports psychology and performance consultant who’s worked with athletes like Michael Jackson and other NBA athletes. In the book, Mumford shares mindfulness techniques that have helped some of the greatest athletes in history perform at their best in their respective sports. The Mindful Athlete is a wonderful sports psychology book for anyone who wants to integrate mindful thinking into their athletic pursuits.
Brain Training For Runners
According to recent statistics, around 50 million Americans engage in running or jogging. Running is perhaps the most popular type of exercise among non-athletes, and a significant number of runners join official road races. Matt Fitzgerald, a running expert, wrote the book Brain Training For Runners for them. The book helps runners of all ages, fitness levels, and running experience learn techniques that can help them optimize their performance on the road. The sports psychology book is a must-have for anyone who wants to bring their running life to a whole another level.
While not strictly a sports psychology book, Grit discusses at length a topic close to many athletes’ hearts: perseverance and passion. Grit is written by Dr. Angela Duckworth, a University of Pennsylvania cognitive psychologist whose research has primarily focused on the concept of grit, or the combination of perseverance and passion to achieve a certain goal.
According to the Trine University website, “Grit is an important concept when considering athletic achievement. Coaches and parents should do all they can to help young athletes cultivate their grit.” If you want to learn more about how grit can contribute to a person’s athletic success, Grit should be a part of your sports psychology bookshelf.
Sports psychology is a vast and ever-changing field of science with many moving parts. While reading these books will give you a good grasp of what this subject is about, there are plenty of other materials that you can also delve into to understand sports psychology better. Did we miss any good sports psychology books that we should have added? Mention it in the comments section below.
If you want your own copy of any of the books mentioned in this list, you can purchase them from Amazon, conveniently linked down below. (Disclosure: Best Psych Books get commissions for purchases made through affiliate links).